Flossing. One of the most dreaded parts of an oral healthcare routine is flossing. In fact, according to a survey conducted by the American Dental Association in 2013, only 50% of American Adults floss on a daily basis, 31% floss but not on a daily basis, and 18% do not floss at all. The reasons for not flossing vary from bleeding gums when flossing, not knowing how to properly floss, or simply not wanting to spend the time. Whatever the reasons, our pediatric dentist in Sugar Land, Texas set out to make flossing fun for both you- and your kids!
Why Do We Floss?
Flossing removes excess plaque that brushing alone can’t. Studies show that brushing only covers 35% of the surface of our teeth and doesn’t touch between the teeth where food and bacteria like to hide. Flossing your kids’ teeth should begin when two teeth touch, and should become a regular habit in their oral healthcare routine. You can continue helping with your child’s dental care until they are able to tie their own shoes. The best pediatric dentists say this is when a child has developed enough hand-eye coordination to handle brushing and flossing on their own.
The Dreaded Thread
Since kids develop the same attitudes as their parents when it comes to dental care, here are a few ways to make flossing fun for the whole family while you set the flossing example:
- Practice on an egg carton. When teaching your kids the importance of flossing, create a small “mouth” with an egg carton folded in half to look like top and bottom teeth. Insert pieces of playdough between the egg crate “teeth,” and have your child put their dental floss skills to use in removing it.
- Make up a silly song. Anything catchy that the kids (and you!) will remember to help them learn the importance of flossing. At my house, we sing to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”. Floss, floss, floss your teeth, get the plaque away, gently curve between your teeth, do not let it stay.
- Have a Family Flossing Fest. “Gather around the big bathroom mirror kids, it’s time to floss!” Though this is hypothetical, what if we made it real and had family bonding time while flossing? Kids are more likely to incorporate flossing into their daily routine if they see their parents making it a priority.
- Progress Chart. Use a sticker chart to monitor your child’s flossing, and offer an incentive for being diligent about it. (Preferably NOT a sugary snack since that defeats the purpose!)
When you need additional encouragement, visit our pediatric dentist in Sugar Land, Texas for more ideas and motivations for flossing!